PEOPLE making Triple-0 calls for medical emergencies in Wodonga and Wangaratta could be surprised to find firefighters, rather than paramedics, arriving at the scene.
From Tuesday morning, CFA members will be called out to certain medical jobs, including when people are in cardiac arrest.
The aim of the emergency medical response changes are to save lives by having the firefighters provide assistance to Ambulance Victoria workers.
CFA members will treat patients until paramedics arrive.
Operations manager Stewart Kreltszheim said there were clear benefits to early intervention.
“When people call Triple-0 in Wangaratta and Wodonga, don’t be surprised to see a group of firemen walking through the door,” he said.
“Be assured that they will have the skill set to intervene and give their family member the best chance of survival.
“Early intervention when someone is having a cardiac arrest has been proven to save lives.
“The earlier someone can undertake CPR, the greater the chances of survival.
“I will expect that lives will be saved by the introduction of emergency medical response.”
Firefighters have been trained to give a high level of assistance and will have access to new equipment, including defibrillators, respiratory gear and an improved first aid kits.
They will generally treat patients who are unconscious and not breathing.
The changes were introduced at various locations in Victoria from 2017 following a trial, particularly in outer metropolitan areas of Melbourne.
A similar system is used by NSW firefighters in areas including Tocumwal, Henty and Culcairn.
Mr Kreltszheim said there had been "countless” cases where firefighters had saved lives in Victoria.
“I think anything that can add to our mission of saving lives and property is just another string to our bow,” he said.
“It's another way we can add value as an organisation to the public.
"This is to complement Ambulance Victoria.
“It's not about replacing the ambulance service.
“The staff who have undertaken this training are really looking forward to the opportunity to use these advanced skills in their community.”
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